READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, December 6th

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Trump; China Agreement has to Work for the U.S.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue made a recent appearance on CNBC to talk about U.S. trade negotiations with China. The secretary says President Trump wants a “phase one” deal with China that works for the United States. “The president wants to come to a deal that’s enforceable, that’s reliable, and will be consistent with what the deal says.” His appearance on CNBC happened shortly after a Bloomberg report said that the U.S. and China were edging closer to wrapping up an agreement before new U.S. tariffs go into effect December 15th on more Chinese imports. During the NATO summit this week, Trump told reporters that trade talks with China are “going well.” He made those comments just one day after saying he might want to delay a deal with China until after the 2020 presidential election. Beijing and Washington have hit each other’s goods with billions of dollars in tariffs. The moves have hit U.S. farmers especially hard. Nearly $20 billion in U.S. agricultural exports went to China last year alone. “We in agriculture are optimistically hopeful that we can conclude this,” Perdue tells CNBC. However, he reiterated administration concerns that China won’t follow through on what it promises in the agreement.


Wisconsin Rep Asks Perdue for More Support

Wisconsin Representative Ron Kind sent a letter of Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue demanding that he have a plan to provide certainty and support for family farms amidst the trade talks with China. Kind points out in the letter that the secretary refers to farmers as “casualties” of the trade war. Kind sent the letter as a deadline for new tariffs on Chinese goods is set to take effect on December 15th and after Trump suggested that waiting to settle the dispute until after the 2020 elections is an option. Kind’s home state of Wisconsin loses an average of two farms a day and is on top of the nation in terms of the number of family farmers who’ve declared bankruptcy. It’s the second-straight year that Wisconsin has led the U.S. in that dubious category. As U.S. farmers face sometimes overwhelming challenges, they’re finding export markets increasingly closed off. In the first four months of this year, Wisconsin agriculture exports dropped nearly five percent compared to the previous year. Ag exports to China dropped by 31 percent. Kind says Wisconsin taxpayers have forked over $743 million in additional tariffs since the trade war began in March of 2018.


Settlement on Cooperatives Working Together Lifts Cloud over Dairy

The National Milk Producers Federation announced a settlement agreement that would end a class-action lawsuit concerning the Herd Retirement Program that ended back in 2010. The program was administered through the federation’s Cooperatives Working Together initiative. The settlement will safeguard ongoing efforts to aid U.S. dairy producers, lift a cloud over the industry that’s lasted years, and it allows NMPF member cooperatives and the current CWT program to move forward with more certainty. The plaintiffs consisted of larger retailers and companies who directly buy butter and cheese from CWT member cooperatives. The settlement amount is $220 million in exchange for a release of all claims. Neither the NMPF nor any of its member cooperatives admit any wrongdoing as a result of the settlement. “There is no way to sugarcoat a settlement of this size, especially given that the Herd Retirement Program was a well-publicized effort designed to serve dairy producers in difficult times,” says Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the NMPF. “It was praised by two Secretaries of Agriculture and a number of the leading members of Congress.” The plaintiffs sought damages relating to the Herd Retirement Program, which offered dairy farmers financial incentives to market their milking herds for beef. It operated between 2003 and 2010.  


USDA Opening CRP Signup on December 9th

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced that signup for the Conservation Reserve Program will begin on December ninth. The signup period ends on February 28th for general CRP, while the signup for continuous CRP is ongoing. Farmers and ranchers who enroll in CRP get a yearly payment for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species like approved grasses or trees that help control erosion. The practices also improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. “The Conservation Reserve Program is one of our nation’s largest conservation efforts and a critical tool to help producers better manage their operations while they conserve natural resources,” says Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. CRP currently has 22 million acres enrolled in the program. However, the 2018 Farm Bill lifts the cap on acres up to 27 million. That means many farmers and ranchers have the chance to enroll for the first time or continue their participation for another term. CRP was first signed into law in 1985 and is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. The program has evolved over the years and provides a variety of conservation and economic benefits across the country.


USDA will Take Seven Trade Mission Trips in 2020

The U.S. Ag Department announced it will sponsor seven agribusiness trade missions in 2020. The goal will be to diversify and grow export opportunities around the world for American farmers and ranchers. “I cannot overstate the immense value trade missions provide to the U.S. agriculture industry and our customers,” says USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. He says trade missions help agribusinesses big and small to get their foot in the door to new markets, build strong relationships with existing and potential customers, and expand their global footprint and sales of U.S. farm and food products. “I’ve had the pleasure of leading numerous trade missions at USDA and the results overwhelmingly speak for themselves,” he adds. “In 2019 alone, six USDA trade missions enabled more than 170 U.S. companies and organizations to engage in more than 3,000 face-to-face meetings with foreign buyers.” Those engagements generated more than $78 million in projected 12-month sales. Destinations in 2020 include North Africa, the Philippines, Spain and Portugal, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates.


Sheep Industry gets Predator Control Approval from EPA

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the final interim decision on the registered use of sodium cyanide for predator control. The EPA worked in conjunction with the USDA’s Wildlife Services to put out a label for the predator control tool. The label will include three additional use restrictions to promote public awareness and decrease non-target impacts. Benny Cox, President of the American Sheep Industry Association, says the nation’s sheep producers welcome the decision. “We sincerely appreciate the USDA and EPA working together to ensure livestock producers will have access to effective predator control, while also increasing public awareness and transparency,” he says. “Livestock producers face heavy losses from predators, with those losses totaling more than $232 million every year.” He says producers are especially vulnerable to losses during lambing and calving. Sodium cyanide is only used under the oversight of federal or state wildlife officials.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.